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A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Why you should study abroad// things you should consider before you go

Side street in Shinsekai, Osaka at night

As long time readers will know, I did a year abroad at Osaka University in 2015-16. I wrote about studying abroad at the time, but I never did a proper 'why you should study abroad' post- I really think it's an amazing experience, as you get the chance to live in a different country and make friends and try new things! In this post, I'll explain why I think study abroad is great and a few of the things you should consider before you go.

Why you should study abroad// 

  • It might cost less than you think- In the UK, fees are capped and it's less than a year at home! Obviously the costs of living might be higher, but there is the opportunity to get scholarships, and you might be eligible for a higher maintenance loan.
  • You learn so much! Academically, it's really interesting to take classes in a different country, but you also learn more about different cultures
  • The opportunity to make new friends and for cultural exchange- often the people in your class will be from all over the world, so you won't just learn about the country you visit, but about loads of different places
  • Travel opportunities- you'll have time to travel in the holidays, and also your uni might run group trips
  • It's great for language study- the best way to learn is immersion, and you'll find your language improves so much while you're there which is why most language degrees in the UK will include a year abroad
  • You'll become way more independent- being away from friends and family for a whole year was a huge challenge and culture shock is real, but surviving on your own will really improve your confidence and independence
  • Employability- study abroad makes you stand out a bit in a sea of new grads, and a lot of employers will value the global mindset you get from living abroad
  • The opportunity to live in another country for a whole year could be difficult to come by again. It's also convenient because a lot of the time your host University will have a dorm so you don't need to worry about finding a place to live/ paying loads of different bills in a foreign country.
  • you get to put off graduating for a whole year ;)

Things you should consider//

  • Study up beforehand- learn about the country beforehand, this will make you feel more prepared and ready to enjoy it more!
  • Do you have the money- are there any scholarships you could apply for? Make sure you can budget!
  • Maybe save some money up before you go so you can travel.
  • Start packing early-ish- make a list, and keep in mind that some things will be hard to find once you're abroad (this is another thing to research, but for example large clothing and shoes can be difficult to get hold of in Japan) ( P.s. This is what I packed for my year abroad to Japan )

  • Will your electronics work in your new country? (I'm not just talking about phones, Japan has around half the voltage of Britain, so things like hair dryers and straighteners don't work here. Maybe order a sim card or pocket wifi online so you can pick it up at the airport
  • Visa- leave plenty of time to apply
  • shop around for a plane ticket- getting a flexible return or a normal return and paying to change your return flight date will be cheaper than getting two single tickets
  • (If you're in the UK, you might be able to get a travel grant to cover travel to the country with Student Loan Company)
  • Consider getting a part time job while you're there- if you have the time, it could be really good for language and really getting to know a different side of the culture.
  • Make a bucket list of things you want to do! A year goes past scarily quickly, so think of some 'must-do' memories you'd like to tick off. My updated (huge) Japan bucket list
  • Culture shock is real! Be prepared that although it will be amazing, study abroad isn't fun the whole time and it can be lonely. Culture shock will definitely hit at some point no matter how much of a great time you have. 
  • don't forget to actually study- turn up to classes and complete your assignments- it is called study abroad after all...

That's it for now! Have any of you guys gone on study abroad? Or are you considering it? As well degree programmes, there are a tonne of summer internships, volunteering and study programmes, so they're options to consider too! Or you could consider teaching abroad. For those considering study abroad, best of luck!!!

-Amy xoxo


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